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Film / The Eagle and the Hawk

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The Eagle and the Hawk is a 1933 film directed by Stuart Walker and Mitchell Leisen.

Jerry Young (Fredric March) and Henry Crocker (Cary Grant) are volunteers with the Royal Flying Corps in World War I. Jerry is critical of Henry's piloting skills, resulting in Henry not being selected to go to France as a pilot. Henry punches Jerry in the face and bears him a lasting grudge.

Jerry and the rest of the unit go to France. Jerry is the pilot in a two-man crew with the second man being the "observer" who takes reconnaissance pictures (the main point of the flights) and mans the machine gun. Jerry doesn't even have time to unpack before he goes up on a flight, and his observer is killed. Later another of Jerry's observers is killed. Then another, and another, and another. The deaths of five men in the back seat of Jerry's plane leave him with a severe case of shell-shock, drinking heavily and suffering from nightmares. Jerry gets a little more stress when Henry Crocker joins the unit as an observer.


Carole Lombard, still a year away from her Star-Making Role in Twentieth Century, appears briefly as a gorgeous socialite who notices Jerry at a party in London.


  • Blood from the Mouth: Seen from a German pilot that Jerry shoots down.
  • Brick Joke: Mike is seen reading some kind of dirty book called "A Night in a Turkish Harem". Later he's teaching Fifi the French waitress English by having her read that book.
  • Catapult Nightmare: A pretty disturbing one in which Jerry does not wake up. Instead he bolts up and, while still asleep but with eyes wide open, starts screaming as if he were in his plane on a flight.
    Jerry: You got 'em. There you are. There you are. There you are. There you are. You got 'em. Shoot. Shoot! You got 'em! You got 'em! He's burning! You got 'em. There. There you are. There you are. You got 'em. You got 'em. You got 'em! You got! Is there anything? Death. He's burning! He's! There you are. There you are. Now, you got 'em. There, you got 'em. Now, shoot. Shoot. Shoot him! Shoot. I lost five. I lost five. I lost five, sir. I lost, sir, but five. Five in two months, sir. Five. Five, sir...
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  • Driven to Suicide: It's the Downer Ending. Jerry snaps and shoots himself. Henry piles Jerry's dead body into a plane, takes the plane up, then shoots Jerry with the machine gun to make it look like Jerry was killed in combat.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Jerry starts drinking more and more as the stress of combat gets to him.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Henry's face is framed this way when he comes back into the tent and observes Jerry in his bunk, in the throes of a terrifying nightmare.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Played straight. Kingsford, Jerry's first observer, is looking at a photo of his wife and child right before the flight. He's killed.
  • New Meat: Taken to the extreme. Five painfully young, wide-eyed replacements join the unit. Jerry, meeting them at the officer's club, gives a half-hearted pep talk. Then a bomb falls on the club. All five of the replacements are killed before they ever get to fly.
  • No Name Given: Carole Lombard's character is credited as "The Beautiful Lady".
  • Nose Art: Jerry's plane has a painting of the Grim Reaper on the side.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: A very cynical anti-war film. Jerry gives a reluctant speech to the replacements about how they're "fighting for humanity" that he clearly believes is bullshit. The movie ends with a shot of a hometown monument to Jerry saying that he "gallantly gave his life in combat to save the world for democracy", when in reality he killed himself.
  • Smoking Is Cool: The Beautiful Lady jumps into Jerry's cab unannounced. Jerry, nonplussed, asks if she needs to be dropped off someplace. She says "I don't want to be dropped. I want a cigarette." He lights a cigarette for her and then lights one for himself, and it plays like a mating ritual.
  • Surprisingly Good English: After Jerry and his buddies arrive at the air field, Mike greets an officer in his best French. The officer gives Mike a look of contempt and proceeds to greet them in London-accented English. (He had an RFC sash on his shoulder!)
  • Time Passes Montage: The names of five different observers appear and disappear on the duty roster chalkboard.
  • Video Credits: March, Grant, and Jack Oakie (Jerry's friend Mike) are shown in video clips over the opening credits.
  • Worthy Opponent: A particularly courageous German pilot pursues Jerry's plane all the way back to the RFC base. As the German finally breaks off and turns around, he and Jerry salute each other.